Italy’s Entrance into the Axis

In 1945, the Allied forces were making significant progress against the now surrounded but still formidable Germany, and were making plans to advance on Berlin by cutting their way through Northern Europe. This was the most feasible plan but still had a number of obstacles in the way.

Germany was adept at setting up defenses and there was a lot of rugged territory to cover along the way. The concern was that once the Allies penetrated the German border, their ranks would be depleted to the point of not being able to advance against the strongest of the German fortifications.

The Allies decided take a portion of their forces and launch an attack on Italy, over the objections of the Soviet Union who wanted additional troops to relieve their forces at the Eastern Front, with two basic goals.

First, to take the Italian military off the board. Defeating Italy and forcing them to disband their army and navy would drastically reduce Germanys available military manpower and prevent an attack by Italy against the Allied invaders heading for Berlin.

Second, to divert German troops away from Northern Europe and the German fortifications, effectively clearing the way for the Allied movements.

The campaign against Italy began with sea attacks on Sicily and the Southern Italian coast in July of 1943.

The treacherous mountain conditions of this region, combined with some of the strongest fortifications in the Italian theater, made this a costly battle plan.

Taking advantage of internal strife:

At the time the Allies were attacked Sicily, Italy was in a state of disarray.

The citizenry, tired of Mussolini and the fascists, were in a mood for a change.

Once word the attacks on Sicily and Southern Italy by the Allies spread, the populace deposed and arrested Mussolini and replaced him with an interim government, one which was much more inclined to side with the Allies.

This is much along the lines that the Allies were hoping for.